The 4 Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in Therapy
Today, I am excited to share with you what I learned in therapy this past year. I have always known about therapy…to an extent. Most of my knowledge regarding therapy came from sitcoms and movies.
For the longest I did not know anyone close to me who actually went to therapy let alone shared about their experience. Well, that is until after college when a dear friend of mine referenced topics that came up in therapy.
Later on in 2020, I noticed one of my siblings and his partner would reference therapy either online or during conversations. Naturally, these encounters sparked my curiosity regarding therapy.
Additionally, they opened up my limited beliefs regarding accessibility. This is not to say there are not real barriers to therapy. However, witnessing people close to me obtain access to this resource made me realize that therapy was something I could have access to as well.
At the end of 2020, I began my search to find a therapist. Once I found someone that I felt safe with I committed to the practice. Recently, my therapist and I were chatting about all the progress I have made.
We meet during a pretty tumultuous time in my life and they have witnessed many of my personal milestones. I was in awe reflecting on all my growth. While much of what I have gleamed from therapy seems straightforward, the integration of this knowledge has been life changing.
Here are 4 of the Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in Therapy.
1) Most People Will Respect Your Boundaries
Often, you may feel nervous or weary of truly enforcing your boundaries. However, most people will respect your boundaries once they are communicated clearly. I say most as a caveat. Since I am aware that there may be someone who may be pressed to ignore one of your boundaries. However, I have found that most people have some level of emotional awareness and intelligence and will gladly respect your wishes.
At the beginning of 2022, I was so hesitant to truly stand in my boundaries. I was working on boundaries regarding my personal space and agency around privacy. As a recovering people pleaser, I was sure I would be met with adversity once I decided to stand up for myself. I worried about making others uncomfortable or having to deal with heightened responses. However, I found the opposite to be true. Instead, I found that when I told someone that I needed them to back up or that I did not want to discuss a certain topic they obliged. There was no kicking and screaming or guilt tripping there was only an “okay”.
I continued enforcing my boundaries and grew in confidence. I learned that the biggest obstacle with boundaries is usually us standing in our own way!
2) No One’s World Will End If You Say “No”
There is so much pressure in the world to do all the things. You may often be asked from someone in every corner of your life to do something. Since you likely have limited time it is impossible for you to do all the things. Regardless, you still feel pressure to say “yes”. But at what cost. Always saying yes usually leads to exhaustion and feelings of resentment.
The good news is that you do not have to say “yes” to everything. Sometimes, there is fear in saying “no”. You may feel like if you say “no” the task will never get done, you may let someone down or that someone may be upset. While it is true someone may feel down about your “no”, it is also true that their world will not end.
In general, life is full of options and your “yes” is just one of many options someone may have as it relates to their ask. For this reason, you can rest knowing that someone else can complete the task and everyone will be okay.
Saying “no” to more things in 2022 gave me more space to do the things I really wanted to do that year. Additionally, it eliminated the resentment I would feel when I said “yes” to something that would ultimately cause me stress due to lack of resources (e.g., time or energy).
Needless to say, saying “no” will be a continual part of my self-care practice in 2023.
3) You will Always be Reparenting Yourself
Often you hear folks joking about “adulting” and how hard it can be at times. The truth is that it is HARD. Mainly because it is a big adjustment. As an adult, you are now in charge of taking care of yourself and all the big picture things that were previously the responsibility of your caretaker. However, once you become an adult you also become a parent to yourself. This is a role you will have for the remainder of your life. This is a good thing!
A caretaker’s job is to provide for their dependent, enforce boundaries their dependent otherwise would not, give their dependent unconditional love, and be a safe place for growth among so many other things.
As an adult, you get to cultivate an environment that will birth healthy and productive circumstances in your life and who better to do this than you.
4) The Most Important Person to Trust is Yourself
Trusting yourself is so important. At times, your default may be to put your trust in other people. However, no one knows or understands your life like you.
Most importantly, you are the one who must deal with the consequences of your actions. And for this reason, trusting yourself to make the best decisions for your life is priceless.
Therapy can teach you how to cultivate introspective and observant practices that will teach you how to slow down and understand your feelings. Additionally, you will learn to find YOUR voice and place YOUR thoughts first and this will strengthen the confidence you have in yourself further establishing self-trust.
I hope this blog was insightful and piqued your curiosity surrounding therapy.
What are your thoughts about therapy? What is one lesson you learned in therapy?
Check out this blog post for encouraging words when you are having a tough day.
Peace, Love, and Joy